McGee does explains all with panache and beautiful prose - making this book as fun to read as it is informative. His obvious passion and love for food and science is felt in every line. There are even literary quotes involving food throughout the tome. I got more and more excited to cook as I read it, and could not stop myself from reading aloud to friends a few of the more astonishing tidbits of food history or chemical reactions. This book increases my confidence in the kitchen and frees me to experiment even more with ratios instead of following exact recipes. Since I now understand the purpose of including various ingredients --such as eggs for binding -- in recipes I know what I can leave out, increase, decrease or add. In short, this book explains everything the modern cook could ever want to know. I highly recommend it as a handy reference guide in the kitchen, and to all interested in the art and science of food, cooking and good eating.